Military Variant Of The Pilatus PC-12 Was Returning From A
A U-28A aircraft attached to the 25th Intelligence Squadron went
down near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, located in the Horn of Africa
on February 18th, resulting in the fatal injury of four U.S.
military personnel. The Air Force says Capt Ryan P. Hall from the
319th Special Operations Squadron, Capt Nicholas S. Whitlock and
1st Lt Justin J. Wilkens from the 34th Special Operations Squadron
and Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten in the accident No other
personnel were on board the aircraft. The U-28 was returning from a
mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Captain Hall, 30, was a U-28A pilot on his seventh deployment.
He entered the Air Force in 2004, receiving his commission through
the Reserve Officer Training Corp at The Citadel. He had been
assigned to the 319th SOS at Hurlburt Field since 2007 and had more
than 1,300 combat flight hours.
Captain Whitlock, 29, was also a U-28A pilot and was on his fifth
deployment. He entered the Air Force in 2006, receiving his
commission through the Officer Training School. He had been
assigned to the 319th SOS and then to the 34th SOS at Hurlburt
Field since 2008 and had more than 800 combat flight hours.
Lieutenant Wilkens, 26, was a combat systems officer on his third
deployment. He entered the Air Force in 2009, receiving his
commission through the Air Force Academy. He had been assigned to
the 34th SOS at Hurlburt Field since April 2011 and had more than
400 combat hours.
Airman Scholten, 26, was a mission systems operator assigned to the
25th IS at Hurlburt Field since 2009. He enlisted in the Air Force
in 2007. He had more than 600 combat hours in six different
airframes and was on his third deployment.
"The Hurlburt Field community expresses our deepest condolences to
the family of the crew, and we share in their sorrow. Our efforts
are focused on helping them through this difficult time," said Col.
Jim Slife, commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing. "We will
never forget the valuable contributions these brave men made to
their country and community."
The U-28A is a single engine, manned fixed wing aircraft developed
around the Pilatus PC-12 airframe that provides intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in support of special
operations forces. The cause of the crash is unknown at this time.
The Air Force is committed to a thorough investigation, and more
information will be released as it becomes available.